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Planning Your Out of State Bowhunt for 2011

by Dustin DeCroo 15. February 2011 14:08
Dustin DeCroo

The Fall 2010 season comes to a close and it’s time for many hunters to start planning their Non-Resident Fall adventures for 2011.

While many bowhunters are having treestand withdrawals in February and March, I enjoy the excitement of doing research and planning my out-of-state hunts for the upcoming Fall.  The reality of nonresident hunting is that, generally it is significantly more difficult to be successful (in terms of harvesting an animal) than in the region that you call home.  Let us be honest, it’s expensive, time consuming and can be a lot of work but at the same time it can be one of the most gratifying and memorable experiences you’ll ever have.  As Americans we’re blessed with a plethora of big game animals to hunt and it is up to us to take advantage of it.

I was fortunate enough to film's Justin Zarr as he traveled from Illinois to hunt Wyoming Pronghorn.


My good friend Steve Abbott also traveled to Wyoming to hunt pronghorn

I have been fortunate enough to travel the country to hunt for the last five seasons and the planning can almost be overwhelming.  What do I hunt?  Which state do I visit?  Which unit do I hunt?  When do I apply?  How much will everything cost?  These questions and a million others have to be answered before the ball gets rolling.

There is no doubt that I love chasing whitetails but bugling bulls and spot and stalk type bowhunts are my true passion when it comes to bowhunting.  I would love for everyone to be able to experience those hunts, so let me give a little bit of (hopefully) helpful information.

The real work begins after you decide what you want to hunt and the more research you do, the better chance you’ll be rewarded in the end.  Every state has a DNR or Game & Fish website that will tell you the process for hunting in that particular state.  With that said, I have never found a more frustrating group of websites to visi.  For all of the Western states, I have not found a more useful source than the  MRS or Members Research Supplement section found in Eastman’s Hunting and Bowhunting Journal.  The MRS is found only in subscription issues of the magazine but is incredibly informative.  It provides you with application deadlines and prices, drawing odds, trophy qualit y, percentage of public lands, season dates and non-resident success rates, to name a few.  The MRS includes this information for nearly every big game animal that resides in the Western united states.


My friends Trey Kolar, Tony Stickland and drew Wyoming Elk tags in 2007.


In my experience Iowa, Illinois and Kansas are the three main whitetail states that require you to apply for a non-resident tag.

Starting the planning process now assures that you don’t miss any deadlines, can save some hard earned cash and get your body in the proper physical condition for whichever hunt you choose.


My dad drew non-resident elk and moose tags in 2009 killed this great Wyoming bull.

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